Castlegar City Council voted on Monday night to maintain the current animal control bylaw regarding pit bulls.
The bylaw requires owners of pit bulls and Staffordshire terriers or any dog mixed with those breeds to register their dogs and pay a $1,000 licensing fee annually.
The 10-year-old bylaw was brought to attention in April after the Castlegar News learned some prospective residents were hesitant to move to the city due to the exorbitant fee.
In comparison, Nelson and Trail charge $300 for the same licence.
Coun. Russ Hearne, who sits on the public safety committee, told council the committee agreed to keep the bylaw the same because they believe it’s working.
“We don’t seem to have a lot of issues that neighbouring communities have,” he said. “It isn’t broken, so unfortunately it will impact some of those responsible pet owners.”
Council voted to review the bylaw in mid-April and sought advice from the RCMP, animal control officers and the Castlegar Fire Department, who all recommended the bylaw stay as it is.
“I know there are responsible dog owners,” Coun. Gord Turner said, “but we decided for the few incidents that may occur, we wanted to take a firm stand on it.”
Coun. Deb McIntosh, the only member to vote against the bylaw, said she doesn’t think charging $1,000 makes the issue better.
“Just so this is not considered a dead issue I will be voting against it,” she said.
“Maybe they’re being hidden but at least we’re not having to deal with them regularly on the streets,” Turner said.
Council also instructed animal control officers to become more proactive in the regulation and licensing of these breeds of dog in Castlegar.
Currently, none are registered.
“We do recognize that there are some unlicensed dogs,” Hearne said.
In April, 33 warnings were issued under animal control, one ticket was issued and one dog was impounded. Comparatively, 19 warnings were issued and two dogs were impounded in March.
Hearne believes the $1,000 price tag is keeping dogs out of the city.
“The pit bull is a more aggressive dog … and we don’t want those in our community,” he said.